Poem A Day Challenge April 11, 2019

In a life time of teaching, there are many students, for all kinds of reasons, who never leave your consciousness. Some of them break your heart. This is especially true if you feel you have failed them. This is a poem for one of the girls I still find myself wondering and worrying about. It might be hard to read for some pf you.


I think of you while washing dishes
A ten-year-old girl, already lost
Already missing
We just didn’t know it yet
Brutalized by your psychopathic brother
Rescued from sexual slavery at the age of nine
I met you in May, late in the school year
But kept you for the next one

You were already lost
Trying to keep it together
In a family ripped apart by poverty and
Circumstances beyond its control
Never mind
Not being able to keep on top of laundry
No food was in the house

Attendance was hit and miss
Your confession to a classmate
About your abuse
Turned into a debacle,
Another betrayal by someone
Who claimed to be friend

I held onto you with my whole heart
Held you up the best I could
Celebrated every day you came
Worried then
Worry now,
Twenty odd years later

But you were already lost
Already disappearing

Your grade six and seven teachers
Focused on attendance
I thought you needed more
But you were smart
They saw school as
The route to your salvation

Your mother,
And friends

We let you down
Didn’t save you
Couldn’t save you

Could we?

At 15 you were picked up
For prostitution.
Your probation officer called me,
Wanted someone to
Talk about your character
I wept afterwards
I weep still

Later I discovered you were
Finally, officially, missing

Today I thought of you while doing dishes
I think of you all the time
I wonder if you are still lost
I wonder if you can never be found
I wonder if it’s too late


  1. Oh, I am sad for her and for you, too, Cheriee. Those students stay in our hearts I guess forever. And then I wonder how many live in that same story that we don't know about, that need someone's help. I'm glad you wrote. Everyone needs to read and know this happens to children. Thank you.

    1. I agree that everyone needs to understand how hard some children's lives are. It's always the ones who struggle or just need us in other ways that we can't let go of.

  2. So sad! I can feel your love for her and your disappointment and grief and frustration. Thank you for linking me to this.

  3. Oh, that third stanza! Hard, hard.
    Thanks for caring, thanks for remembering.